Zeedar Teretz Practices What He Preaches
Monday, September 26. 5:21PM
Part 1: Some Speculations
Long time readers of this site may recall this article, where I outline a system for gambling, which I claim is mathematically infallible. Long time readers may also have asked themselves why I am not a multi-millionaire.
The system, in short, involves playing black jack at casinos (where the house edge is usually less than half of one percent). You pick an arbitrary amount as your base figure, say $10. Every time you loose a bet, you double it on your next hand, and every time you win a bet you return to the base amount on your next hand. Loosing a bet of $10, therefore, means that on the next hand you will bet $20. If you should loose that hand, then at the next one you will be $40 and so on. Should you win the $40 hand; the money returned to you will be $80, or your losses on the $40 bet, the $20 bet, the $10 bet, and another $10 which is profit. Assuming that you have an infinite reserve to keep doubling your bets with, and that eventually you are going to win one hand, then eventually you will win, recovering all your losses to date, and making a profit equal to your base amount.
At a real casino, however, this is impractical. It is not unusual to loose four or five hands of black jack in a row, which would see your bets elevate from singles figures to several hundred dollars. Because tables have minimum and maximum bets that are not all that far apart, you'd have to keep changing tables. Also, there's going to be a person watching you play, and they're going to catch onto your system pretty quick. I doubt they'd really stop you from playing it, because it encourages you to bet big, which encourages you to loose big, but still, they'd know about it and they could probably ask you to leave if you were taking too much money off them. Also, it requires a bit of a hefty start up fund. How hefty is up to you, but the larger amount of money you have, the more bets you can afford to loose, and the less likely you will loose it all.
This was why I toyed with the idea of doing this on the internet. Initially, my idea was to construct a robot that would interact simultaneously with many different online casinos. The robot would know when it had lost or won, and designate each of the casinos to a specific wager amount and cycle through them. Because I could run the robot 24 hours a day, it wouldn't matter how small my initial bet was. We could play for change, and I'd still make a killing as I'd be playing thousands of hands an hour. I even went so far as to build a simulator that would give me the highs and lows of any particular pattern of betting over a trillion or so cycles. Without fail I made more money than exists on the earth, however, I went quite deeply in debt on occasion. The highest amount of consecutive losses it produced was 21, at which point over ten million dollars would have been on the table. I discarded this idea for three reasons. Firstly, many online casinos forbid the use of robots, and also, one likes to have a little control over the process. I want to be there to make the call to walk away as my debts start to mount up, rather than have some computer program run me up a gambling debt the size of a small nation's economy. Finally, there was the issue of the start up funds. This idea would make an excellent pyramid scheme, I think. The returns can be quite dramatic, but depend entirely on having access to a large cash reserve. If enough people were to band together and come up with the afore mentioned ten million dollars, or hell, even a few hundred thousand would be okay, we could clean out the whole gambling industry. You buy entry with say, $10,000, which is added to the communal fund, which you are allowed to gamble with. It wouldn't be completely safe of course, in fact, I'm pretty sure it'd go tits up eventually, but still, we'd live the high life for a while on the profits.
Anyway, what I was getting up as the number on reason why I'm not a millionaire yet is the start up fund. Sure, I have the few thousand dollars you'd need to get started with relative safety, but that money wasn't free. I had to earn it, and I'm a little reluctant to piss it away in some casino for the pleasure of a few games of cards. That was, of course, until the other day, when I cheque arrived in the mail. My great aunt had died, leaving me a thousand dollars. My great aunt was a strict Baptist, who used to take cold showers to save on the gas bill. I'm sure she'd be proud to see that I had invested her money wisely.
Part 2: Practicing the Practice.
Many online casinos will allow you to play their games using the same gaming software, but fake money, and this is exactly what I did. My first few practice session led rapidly and invariably to balance of zero. This was because there is an upper limit of $500 at the casino I was playing at (this is the highest limit I could find on any reputable online casino), and with the $10 bets I was making, that saw me unable to place bets after a mere five losses. Because of this, I lowered my base bet to $7, which would allow me to squeeze seven games in under the limit, and began to play. I was using a black jack strategy card, which is a table, allegedly calculated in a massive computer simulation, which gives you the mathematically best action to take for each set of cards dealt.
I played three practice sessions, which, all in all took two hours and eight minutes from my life. During that time I played 257 hands of black jack, which made me a total profit of $1,558 fake dollars. The breakdown was basically statistical.
I played 124 games for $7, 58 for $14, 33 for $28, 19 for $56, 12 for $112, 7 for $224, 3 for $448, and 1 for $896. Although the $896 bet was over the limit for a single hand, I did it by playing two hands simultaneously. If both the hands won I considered it a win, if both lost, it was a loss. In the event that one hand one while the other lost, I deemed it a push and played the two hands again. It was conformation to me that the scheme was a very effective way to make money. That it actually worked in a casino. It also made it very clear to me the risks involved. It was nerve racking enough playing for $448 of fake money; I couldn't imagine how it would feel with my own money on the table. If I were to go ahead with this, I really would have to accept the idea of loosing. Also, I would probably need to put $1000 of my own on the table, as one hand had gone all the way to $896 (which implies that I had already lost $889).
I must have gone to that deposit screen six or seven times and started to type in information, only to chicken out and cancel it. I checked my bank balance every day, wondering just how much I could deal with a good portion of it not being there. I'd seen several articles in the days proceeding about how psychopaths make the best business people because they have the balls to put money on the line, and I kept wondering if that was me. I got out my credit card and stared into the hologram, soul searching, for twenty minutes. The last thought that flashed through my mind was that old saying, "those who can, do, those who can't, teach." I guess this is my lesson to you. I can. I sucked it up and pressed submit.
Part 3: The Practice in Practice.
I won my first hand 17 - 23. It was a relief. Didn't last long. Within fifteen minutes I had lost the highest bet I could cover - effectively I had lost it all. I had made the stupidest mistake one can make with this system, and defeated myself - I had gone in half arsed. I hadn't had the balls quite yet to put the whole $900 I would need to cover the first seven bets - instead, I had decided to cut it low, and put in only $450 (actually, only $250, but the casino gives you another $200 to start you off). When I lost the $224 hand, I had nowhere to go. I wrote down the hand I had lost, and took a couple of hours break to evaluate my life choices. Eventually I decided that it was balls to the wall till you're bust, and deposited another $400. Then I went straight back in and made the same stupid mistake. I wanted to play the hand I should have played before - the $448 hand straight away, but the little voice in my head kept nagging at me. "No Dude, play it safe, keep that money and work your way up. You'll play the hand when you have enough to cover its loss and keep playing up to $224." So I played for a while, and then, sure enough, pretty soon I lost a $224 bet, leaving me with about a hundred bucks in my account. I swore, threw my mouse across the room (I knew I forked over the extra scratch for wireless for a reason), and said "I quit, I'm fucking out." That would have been then end of my gambling adventure.
But for the fact, of course, that I still had $100 in my account. I came back to the game every few hours all the next day, just playing a few hands – fifteen or twenty minutes - and slowly but surely, I began to make money. At first I was just playing to get to $448, where I intended to play for the hands I had lost, but when I got there I didn't have the balls. I just let my account creep up, and by the time I stopped playing that day my account read $1000.50. I was back in black.
The next morning I began to play. My objective for the day was $1600, after which point, I deemed that I could cover eight bets and, anything further was profit, which I would use first to recoup my initial investment, and then second to recoup my losses: to play out the rest of the cycles for the hands I had lost. I guess I peaked at about $1200 before tragedy struck. The cycle got too high, until finally I lost a $448 bet, leaving about $200 in my account - not enough make the next level. I cursed, wrote it off, and began to try and use the remaining to build myself up again. Alas, it didn't happen. I quickly hit a $112 which I couldn't make, and then a $56. Finally, it was a $14 hand (which I had split, so really $28) that finished me off. It had taken about 400 hands to clean me out.
I had to wait a few days for the transactions on my credit card to go through so I could pay them off and deposit more money, and this gave me some time to think. I try, most of the time, not to look like a complete ass on this website, and I've got to say that loosing all your money in an online casino goes a fair way to making one look like an ass. I wanted to give you guys a happy ending by winning it all back, but deep inside I knew that I wasn't going back. I was done, and so the closest thing I can offer you to a happy ending is this.
I stick by my system 100%. Sure, I lost all my money, but what the fuck was I thinking playing the way I did? The whole basis of this system relies on having a large reserve of cash to allow you to keep increasing your bet. It is the fundamental element that lends the system its strength. By only depositing small amounts, and not consistently depositing more money and following through all the cycles, I defeated myself. If you look at all the money that I lost, you'll see that it adds up to well over two grand, implying that I had two grand on the table to loose. That means that I turned $650 in over $2000 in no more than three or four hours play. Had I kept it, I'd be sucking saki shots of a naked Japanese girl right now. I don’t really begrudge them the losses. I still have change from my inheritance, and it was a hell fun couple of days. I have written down all the hands I lost on, and one day, when I get a bit more cash for free, I hope to return to that casino and play out all of those hands properly, making back my losses, and a whole new set of profit.
I really began to see all through this how people get addicted to gambling. Even here, in the comfort of my bedroom, playing what is essentially a computer game, for "money" which is represented only in a total in the bottom left corner of the screen. It came from my credit card. I've never handled it, to me it is nothing. But even here, when there's a $448 bet on the table my blood is pumping. It's better than any movie. And the payoff when you win? That sense of relief when the computerised voice says "You Win" (I notice, by the way, that it never says "You Loose", or "Dealer Wins", just "You Win"), and the little sign comes up saying "You won $896"? It's amazing. It's like nothing on earth. I think I can honestly say that it's the most exciting thing I've ever done. Imagine then how it must be in Vegas, when you're a little drunk, the lights are flashing, and you can hear poker machines pinging. You're playing for heavy chips of carbon bone, and a super hot chick is leering at you. I'm all for things that are addictive - I love cigars, and think smokers should be allowed to smoke everywhere; I only don't do intravenous drugs because I find the cost prohibitive, and I'm obviously pro-gambling. I am, however, a bit disgusted with people who are addicted to things. One should have control over ones mind and body. After feeling the rush of gambling, and the nights sleep I have lost to dreams of hitting a blackjack (which pays off 2:3) on a $448 bet, and can really see where gambling addicts are coming from. Next time I walk through a casino and I see that old Asian guy shelling more and more cash onto the roulette wheel, I think there'll be a connection. I know what he's feeling. He's my brother.
For those of you who still aren't convinced of the attraction of casino gambling, I give you the girl for this article.